When I say ‘clients’ in this particular piece, I will be referring specifically to the clients of full service sex workers. I just want to be clear because sex work can mean a varying degree of work from strippers to phone sex, cam work to porn.
There is a clear double standard for being a client that is unfair to the sex worker. A client that gets caught may be stigmatized for a time but will be forgiven by society. A sex worker that gets caught is too often stigmatized for life, never to be forgiven by society. The client is seen as having a moment of weakness while the worker is seen as just dirty. Not fair for the sex worker. Patriarchy I am sure, but that is another debate for another time.
My point here is that clients have it easier in the sex trade. They can walk away from stigma easier, and they can hide their activity easier due to it being less frequent. There is an imbalance between the two sides with the stigma and the everyday threats faced. The fact that sex workers are able to work means that there is a demand for them. As the economy goes up and down so too will the amount of demand, but it will always be there. People want sex or the perceived connection that comes with it.
To be there in the moment with your mind on during sex takes energy. A sex worker needs to do this for each client. It can be emotionally draining for them. As a client, they are there only for their appointed time and that is for them to relax and release stress. Easier for the client.
I know I am missing some things here or there. I am not trying to cover it all. Maybe in your experiences my generalizations do not apply to you. I argue they apply most of the time on average. That it is easier for the client emotionally, with facing laws, with facing stigma, and with facing threats often accompanying sex work.
So my message here is to clients out there. Support your sex worker. Realize what THEY are going through to be a sex worker. That they are a professional that you sought out because they could help you. They are self-employed, sometimes in a place where it is illegal. That means they are risking a lot, not just going without health benefits or retirement savings. They may be a parent at risk of losing everything if found out. Appreciate what they do.
Clients come from every walk of life, we seek various services, and we are too often thinking of our own needs at the time of our little encounters. We need each other though. The fight for decriminalization of sex work, the fight to end trafficking, and the fight to end stigma are all fights we need to work on together. We are natural allies in this. Clients, if you are in a position where you can step up into fight and support it, now is the time. Sex workers, let them in.